Every band has that one album that’s the introduction to their professional career as a band. For Fallujah, this album is their newest release Dreamless. The band’s third full-length embodies not only a new awakening but also new discoveries. The significance behind this is not only how it identifies a band’s growth, but it’s also the album fans call a favorite. With Dreamless, Fallujah mixes melody with intensity. This makes their coined atmospheric sound ring even louder amongst modern death metal bands. This album can truly be the one to make Fallujah the biggest modern act in metal.
The album starts with Face of Death. This is by far one of the heavier songs on the album. While the opening is soothing, when the riffs punch in it turns into a whole new monster. Vocalist Alex Hofmann overtakes this track with her ferocious growls while guitar duo Scott Carstairs and Brian James set the mood for the song with piercing solos. To set the time drummer Andrew Baird crushes at rapid beats to keep the brutality. This skillful song is the perfect way to start the album.
The next song Adrenaline is by far the fastest on the album. Every element in this song is a puzzle the listener is desperately trying to figure out. Anyone can easily point out the stunning riffs and solos. But what truly stands out is Baird’s signature speed encompassing the entirety of the song. And the fact that synths are still used aesthetically in the song means this band is going through massive growth.
One of the singles released off this album is The Void Alone. While this has its harsh moments, it’s poppier than the other material Fallujah has ever written. The catchy synths used throughout the song has been an unseen side of this band. The intensity of the track exists in the first half of the song with complex soloing and drumming. But right when Tori Letzler’s vocals come in, the melody is amplified. The riffing takes a break so her vocals sound eminent amongst the synths and Baird’s rapid drumming. After her soprano vocalizing, Hofmann matches hers with high-pitched screams that are uncommon for the primarily low-pitched vocalist. While this is a much different song than anything Fallujah has ever written, it is arguably also one of the most powerful ones they have written.
The other single released is Scar Queen. This track is not only heavy, but it will leave a mark so deep it’s unforgettable. The main distinction of this song if its ability to have abrupt melodies curving into crazy technical parts. This song bounces between both of those parts so fast it’s almost like you didn’t see it coming. But even with its spotted progression, this song remains catchy with the melodic shredding and female clean vocals.
The listener gets a break from the brutality and progressive songs with the title track Dreamless. It’s much more calm with the absence of growling vocals and harsh playing; the soundtrack to meditation. Laying back and letting the song play is the only way to truly absorb it. Right when your feet step into the water, the waves take you for a ride. Synth melodies are the current pulling you along, and stay constant throughout the entirety of your time in the water. Riffs wrap around your body like seaweed, and you run into rocks of complex drumming. As you swim, the water gets murkier. The current pulls you faster, like the solos that escalate. A storm breaks out as the song gets heavier. Right as things become too intense, female singing breaks through the waves and rescues you. She pulls you out as the song ends.
One of the most memorable songs on the album is Amber Gaze. As with many other Fallujah songs, this one begins delicately. The riffing is fast, but not too heavy. Hofmann doesn’t emerge right away, and the drumming is steady. But right when the vocals kick in the song becomes a beast. This song contains both melodic and harsh elements, but unlike the other songs, this one mends them perfectly. Overall, this song is heavy but the riffs still get stuck in your head. No matter what song on this album you’re listening to, this one will constantly stare you in the eye so you can’t help but listen to it.
The album ends with Lacuna. When most albums end, the last song wraps everything up. But this one leaves more to the imagination. It’s bold in the fact that it introduces the technicality and energy similar to their material from The Harvest Wombs but still has their coined synths and melody. This song as a whole embodies their growth as a band. While most albums signify their last song as a sunset, Lacuna is a sunrise for Dreamless. This is a sign we’ll be seeing much more from Fallujah in the future.
Fallujah is new enough to where most fans have been with them since their debut full-length The Harvest Wombs, or even their Leper Colony EP. One listen of Dreamless can tell these fans they never lost their roots, but they’re moving on to wider regions. In short, Fallujah isn’t just a tree bark in the ground but rather an ever-expanding tree whose branches are reaching out to lengths unknown. With devoted fans, Dreamless is an embodiment of a band that continues to evoke vehemence amongst their listeners. The reason being is even though the members of Fallujah are extraordinary musicians their ability to grow is what sets them apart from other modern death metal bands, and Dreamless proves this. While Fallujah will continue to grow, their fans will only follow them. And while we’ll never forget the core of where Fallujah was planted, the tree was watered long enough to where it’s becoming the biggest tree in the forest.
1 Face Of Death
3 The Void Alone
5 Scar Queen
7 The Prodigal Son
8 Amber Gaze
10 Wind For Wings
11 Les Silences
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Atmospheric Death Metal
Playing Time: 54 Minutes
Alex Hofmann – Vocals
Scott Carstairs – Guitars
Brian James – Guitars
Robert Morey – Bass
Andrew Baird – Drums